I was distracted from my online course on FNMI cultures yesterday though I did stay on topic. A Twitter thread caught my eye and I followed the discussion throughout the day and well into the night. I read most of the responses and thought carefully about the issues being raised as well as the way in which the central “edu-influencer” both responded and was responded to.
I think the whole discussion started with @doxdatorb posting this:
This prompted a response from Dr. Debbie Reese, whose profile states:
Tribally enrolled: Nambe Pueblo. Founder:
American Indians in Children’s Literature.
PhD Education; MLIS. ALA’s 2019
Arbuthnot Lecturer. She/her.
She responded with:
“You’ve arrived” — sounds innocuous. It wasn’t.
“uncharted” — you mean “uncharted by colonizers”
“our race” — you expect Native kids to join that “race” and “yearlong wagon train”?
This definitely got me thinking about the blindness of our bias and how we need “edu influencers” from the margins to challenge all of us and our thinking. It certainly helps that I’m enrolled in a course on First Nations, Metis, and Inuit in Canada since I’m already open and learning, but I would hope that we, as educators, can be open enough to the critique of others (especially those working on the margins of dominant culture) that we don’t ignore, or silence them.
I made a list of what I learned from this:
- don’t erase debate from your Twitter feed (as done by @MeehanEDU)
- consult, consult, consult before you publish
- there are dangers in the commercialization of education
- respond individually to people on Twitter and avoid “cut and paste” responses
- don’t hold your creation “too close to your heart” (thanks to @XanWoods for that metaphor)
This Twitter discussion was difficult and made me very uncomfortable at times. I wonder how often someone on the margins flinches in discomfort in the classroom? I am working on making my classroom a place where these discomforts can be shared and I don’t mind if this makes me the most uncomfortable one in the room.